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Yakushima island

YakushimaMap of Yakushima island Yakushima is an island located about 70 km south of Kyushu Island.
The shape is roughly rounded pentagon. It is about 32 km from east to west and about 30 km from north to south in width.

This island is sort of a steep large mountain towering in the ocean.
Many peaks more than 1,000 meters high cover this small island, and the highest peak is Miyanouradake peak (1,936 meters high) in the center of the island.

The wet air from the sea hits this high mountains, so this island has 4,000 to 10,000 millimeters of rainfall annually.
And the much rain has grow the rich forests on the island.

The island is in subtropical zone.
But the high mountains has created subtropical-to-subarctic flora on this small island.
The annual mean temperature is around 20 degrees C around the coast, but it is about 5 degrees C on the top of the mountain.

Because of the rich and diverse nature, one-fifth part of the island is designated as a World Natural Heritage site.

In the area higher than 500 meters, Yaku cedars grow naturally. Yaku cedar ("Yaku-sugi" in Japanese) is a species endemic to Japan.
The lifespan of general Japanese cedar is about 500 years. But one of Yaku cedar is unduly long, and the trees over 2,000 years old are quite common.

We can meet such trees living for an immeasurable time in this island.
And we may see the wild monkeys and deer. (This island don't have so various animals.)

Small villages are dotted along the coast, and a road is set up around the island to connect the villages.
Miyanoura on the north coast is the largest village, and has the port where the ships arrive from Kagoshima.
Anbou on the east coast is the second largest village.
Yakushima Airport lies about halfway between Miyanoura and Anbou.

Only two main roads to the inland.
One is the road leading to Shiratani-Unsuikyo from Miyanoura, and another is the road leading to Yakusugi Land from Anbou.
Buses and cars can run only these roads and the coastal road.

To visit main spots, you should dress in the outfit of climbing or trekking.
Because most attractive spots are in the steep mountain. And the climate is different from the coast area and the weather is changeable.

Route buses run on the main road. But you should check the timetable because the number of the services is small.
If you can drive a car, it is convenient to rent a car.

Some hotels are in Miyanoura and Anbou.
Many Minshuku (small Japanese style inn) are Miyanoura, Anbou and several other villages.

The Yakushima Environmental Culture Foundation official website

Shiratani-Unsuikyo revine /1/

Shiratani-unsuikyoIt is a revine formed by Shiratani River, and is located about 6 km south of Miyanoura.
It is the area preserving the old-growth forest, and there is "Yayoi-sugi" which is a Yaku cedar about 3,000 years old near the entrance.
A few walking trails are set up, and the longest route is over 5 km long. And the route is at the altitude of 600 to 1,000 meters.
On the route, "Forest of Princess Mononoke". "Princess Mononoke" is a 1997 Japanese animated movie written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and he selected this forest as one of the images in the movie.

Wilson stump /2/

Wilson stumpIt is a huge stump of Yaku cedar at an altitude of 1,030 meters.
It is said that the tree was cut down in 1586 to construct Osaka Castle. At that time, it was about 3,000 years old.
Ernest Henry Wilson (1876-1930, an American botanist) visited Japan in 1914, then he introduced this stump to the world.
The stump has a large hollow, and a small shrine is set up in the hollow.
It is on the climbing route to Jomon-sugi at the level , and it takes about 2.5 hours to climb from Arakawa starting point.

Jomon-sugi /3/

Jomon-sugi It is the oldest Yaku cedar, and is the symbol of Yakushima.
It is estimated to be 2,600 to 7,200 years old. (Estimating is difficult, so some values has ever been sumbitted.)
"Jomon" is one of the names of primitive ages in Japan.
It is about 30 meters tall, and has a trunk 16 meters around.
Not to damage the roots, we must see the tree from the observatory.
This is at an altitude of 1,300 meters, and it takes about 3.5 hours to climb from Arakawa starting point through Wilson stump.

Yakusugi Land /4/

Yakusugi Land It is the forest located about 10 km west of Anbou.
This forest is located at an altitude of around 1,000 meters, and has also many Yaku cedars.
Four trekking routes (30, 50, 80 and 150 minutes) are set up.
There is a parking lot at the entrance, so we can enjoy the forest of old Yaku cedars easily.

Kigen-sugi /5/

Kigen-sugiIt is a Yaku cedar as old as Jomon-sugi.
It is said that it is about 3,000 years old. It is about 19 meters tall, and has a trunk 13.3 meters around.
It is located about 6 km west of Yakusugi Land, and there is a parking lot.

Senpiro Falls /6/

Senpiro no takiIt is a waterfall at the southeast part of the island, and is located about 11 km southwest of Anbou.
The water of a river falls down on a huge monolith of granite. The height is about 60 meters.

Toroki Falls /7/

Toroki no taki It is a unique waterfall that the water falls down into sea directly. (Such waterfalls are only here and in Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido in Japan.)
But the height is only 6 meters. The position is in a small cove, so we can see it on the opposite shore.
It is near Senpiro Falls.

Ooko Falls /8/

Ooko no taki It is the Yakushima's largest waterfall located near the southwest coast.
The height is 88 meters, and much water fall down strongly.
We can go to close to waterfall basin.

Other popular spots in Yakushima

  • Yakushima World Heritage Conservation Center /11/ : The facility of the Ministry of the Environment opened in 1996.
    It is located to the west of Anbou village and introduces the nature of Yakushima as a world natural heritage site.
  • Yakushima Environmental Culture Village Center /12/ : The visitor center near Miyanoura Port.
    We can learn Yakushima by screen images and exhibits before touring around Yakushima.
  • Shitogo Banyan Garden /13/ : The forest park of banyan trees and the other subtropical plants. (In Japanese, banyan is called "gajumaru".)
    There is a banya tree 200 to 500 years old.
  • Nagata Inaka Beach /14/ : The sand beach about 0.8 km long on the west coast of the island.
    High waves lap onto the shore.
    Marin turtles come to lay eggs here every year, and this beach is inscribed as a registered wetlands under the Ramsar Convention.
  • Seibu-Rindo forest path /15/ : The road about 15 km long running through the area of the World Heritage Site along the west coast.
    Large Bus is not allowed to run on this road, but small car is OK.
    Evergreen broadleaf forests spread along the road, and monkeys and deer appear on the road often.
  • Yakushima Fruits Garden /16/ : The forest park that there are many plants with tropical fruits.
    It is located on the southwest coast of the island.
    We can see the common tropical fruits in the state of nature.
    Of course, after tour of the garden, we can enjoy the fruits harvested in the garden.
  • Hirauchi seaside hot spring /17/ : The seaside hot spring on the south coast of the island.
    It is on the edge of the surf, and we can take a bath only for two hours around low tide. (When the tide comes in, it goes under the water.)
    Of course, men and women must bathe together, and there is no undressing room. And you must bathe in the nude.
Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By airplane

About 35 minutes from Kagoshima Airport.

By high-speed ship

About 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours and 40 minutes from Kagoshima Port.
Some ships come to Miyanoura, and the others come to Anbou.

High-speed ship in Miyanoura Port Shiratani-Unsuikyo
Yaku cedar in Shiratani-Unsuikyo Forest of Princess Mononoke
Wilson stump Heart-shaped hole on the ceiling of Wilson stump
Climbing trail on tramroad Jomon-sugi
Yakusugi Land
Walking trail in Yakusugi Land Kigen-sugi
Senpiro Falls Toroki Falls
Ooko Falls Yakushima World Heritage Conservation Center
Yakushima Environmental Culture Village Center Shitogo Banyan Garden
Nagata Inaka Beach
©Yasufumi Nishi / ©JNTO
Wild deer on Seibu-Rindo
©Yasufumi Nishi / ©JNTO
Yakushima Fruits Garden Hirauchi seaside hot spring

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Yakushima island
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